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Set in an unspecified but eerily familiar landscape, "Guilty" is, unusually for Kavan, told from a male perspective. The narrator is Mark, who begins the novel as a young boy whose father has just returned from war. In spite of being garlanded as a hero, Mark's father declares himself a pacifist and is immediately reviled in a country still suffering from the divisions of war. When his father is forced into exile, Mark meets Mr. Spector, a shady government agent, who, from then on, is a dominant force in Mark's life, seeing him through his schooling, employment and even his accommodation. When Mark tries to break off with Mr. Spector in order to pursue an engagement with the beautiful but docile Carla, his life begins to unravel. Thwarted at every turn by a Kafakaesque bureaucracy, he begins to fall prey to the machinations and insecurities of his guilt-ridden mind. Drawing on many of Kavan's familiar themes, "Guilty" will a be joy for those who already know Kavan's work and a revelation to those who don't.
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About the Author

ANNA KAVAN, nee Helen Woods (1901-1968) was first published in 1929 under her married name Helen Ferguson. After the collapse of her second marriage she had a nervous breakdown and emerged from her treatment as Anna Kavan - a character from one of her novels.A life long heroine addict, she died of heart failure in 1968.


"The author's meticulous poetic analysis of her characters' emotions...deflates pretense, hidden motives and inflated self-images with the lightest touch."

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